The kids are alright thanks to this initiative geared toward students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to pursue careers in science, tech, engineering, or math (STEM).

According to a press release, the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) was launched in 2020 and has raised more than $17 million to fund scholarships for more than 350 students attending HBCUs. The program was created to support students from underrepresented communities who are taking up space in industries that don’t always have people or leaders that represent and reflect them.

During its first year, FOSSI provided 151 scholarships and in the forthcoming fall, the program will add 144 more scholarships making strides toward its goal of providing 1,000 scholarships by 2025.

“With an ambitious goal of funding 1000 HBCU students, FOSSI aims to have a significant and meaningful impact on the future workforce,” said Mark Vergnano, FOSSI Chairman. “These talented scholarship recipients bring new and diverse perspectives to help innovate the solutions that will address global challenges like clean energy and climate change.”

Outside of financial assistance, FOSSI also equips students with the resources needed to jumpstart their careers with roughly 60 corporate sponsors for hands-on advice regarding various STEM industries. The platform also provides the future generations with a four-year skills development program that provides leadership training, mentoring, and internship opportunities at various supporting organizations.

“It made a big difference, knowing I could count on that funding,” said Carlton Carter, a rising sophomore at Southern University and A&M College of the FOSSI program. “Plus, the mentoring program has been very helpful. It’s given me insight into how business works and what I can expect once I finish my degree.”

Applications for the 2023 leg of the program will open on Sept. 23.

Click here to learn more about FOSSI.